The Ashes: Australia urn it as England lose plot
The Ashes came to a close with an absolute statement of supremacy from Australia as the home team won the fifth and final Test in Hobart by 146 runs and two days to spare. Australia’s 4-0 series triumph was as good as a whitewash as England, who were lucky to escape defeat in the fourth Test, were completely outplayed, outsmarted and outmanoeuvred.
The result highlights two points — that England’s attention to white-ball cricket seems to have made them immensely poorer in the red-ball format and that Australia have learnt their lessons extremely well after being humbled by India a year back.
On Sunday, under the Bellerive Oval lights, it was once again a story of the brittle English batting. In the ascendancy for the first time in the series when they were 68 without loss chasing 271 towards the end of the second session, England lost 10 wickets for 78 runs in little more than an hour-and-a-half to crumble to 124 all out.
Australia’s pace bowling was of the same high quality as it had been throughout the five matches, but some of the shots offered by the batsmen indicated that England had given up on any hope of even extending the contest into a fourth day.
Earlier, pacer Mark Wood’s career best 6/37 helped dismiss the hosts for 155 early in the second session to set England up for a shot at victory. Australia batsman Travis Head was named Man of the Series for his 357 runs, despite missing the Sydney match after contracting Covid-19.
After the match, an emotional Root said he would like to remain as England Test captain. “It hurts, it was a poor display with the bat today… I’d love the opportunity to take this team forward and to turn things round,” he said.
“I believe I am the right man to take this team forward, in my own eyes, and if that decision is taken out of my hands, so be it,” he added.
(Written with agency inputs)